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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): Prison Service staff are required to inform their line managers if they have been charged or convicted of a criminal offence or receive a police caution. Information reported remains in local records. The Prison Service will consider whether to change these procedures as part of its improvement plan to strengthen the services approach to tackling corruption.
Why no information is held centrally on the number of prison officers convicted of offences of corruption or other offences relating to their duties, when such information is held on the number of police officers so convicted. [HL4009]
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: The value of central collection of information on staff prosecutions or convictions will be considered as part of the improvement plan to strengthen the Prison Services approach to tackling corruption.
Further to the Written Answers by Lord Triesman on 14 May (WA 5), if Article 308 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) cannot be used by the Community to widen its competencies beyond what is needed to attain the objectives mentioned in the treaty (a) why they did not veto; and (b) how do they justify the following European initiatives, which rely on Article 308 TEC for their legality (i) the seven Council directives and regulations mentioned in the letter of 2 March 2004 from the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to the chairman of the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee; (ii) the 30 Council directives and regulations passed since 2004 and mentioned in the document placed in the Library of the House on 17 April by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which appear to fall outside the objectives of the TEC; and (iii) proposals for Council decisions and regulations 8205/05, 8210/05, 10774/05, 5865/06, 13852/06 and 16933/06. [HL3909]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): In assessing the legal base of proposals brought forward by the Commission, the Government apply criteria laid down by the Court of Justice in case law dating back to the 1980s and consider each proposal as a whole, and in particular its aim and content. Article 308 requires that a proposal be necessary for the achievement of a Community objective and that the Council must act unanimously. The Government have given an undertaking that, where the Commission puts forward a legislative proposal citing Article 308 as its legal base, the Commission's justification of its choice of legal base and the Government's assessment of that choice will be provided to the scrutiny committees.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The EU-Russia summit took place on 17 and 18 May as scheduled and covered a broad agenda, including international issues, trade, climate change and energy. The EU raised human rights. There were no formal conclusions.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): Articles 2 and 3 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (the EC treaty) outline its common objectives and activities. Article 3(1p) makes a specific reference to health protection, and Article 3(1t) to energy and tourism. In addition, Articles 95 and 175 of the EC treaty outline the principal legal bases for action on energy, and public health is covered by Article 152.
The co-ordination and facilitation of co-operative space activities by the EU and European Space Agency (ESA) is provided by Article 8 of the EU/ESA framework agreement. This is based on Articles 170 and 300(2) of the EC treaty, which provide respectively for international co-operation with third countries and international organisations and for the conclusion of international agreements.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 14 May (WA 6), what is their best estimate of the United Kingdom's gross annual contributions to the European Union budget over the years 2007 to 2012 if (a) the United Kingdom's rebate is maintained, and (b) the rebate is not maintained. [HL3959]
Lord Davies of Oldham: Based on the European Commissions forecasts and assumptions, and using the financial perspective table agreed on 17 December 2005, Treasury estimates for the United Kingdoms gross contribution to the EC budget and the abatement were set out in an Answer given in the other place on 31 January 2006 and are as follows:
|£ billion 2004 prices (payments)|
|Gross contribution before abatement||Abatement|
Later calendar year estimates for the United Kingdoms contributions to the EC budget will be published annually in the Governments European Community finances White Paper. The 2007 edition of this White Paper (Cm 7090) was published on 22 May 2007.
Why, when Lord Triesman said on 30 March 2006 that we are taking a close and active interest in the case of Mr Ali Manzarpour, and we are looking after the rights of Mr Manzarpour as well as we can (Official Report, col. 852), Baroness Scotland of Asthal stated in a Written Answer on 9 May that the United Kingdom Government have no locus in this case (WA 261). [HL3967]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The noble Earl refers to my response of 30 March 2006 (Official Report, col. 852), which related to the consular assistance that was provided to Mr Ali Manzarpour while he was detained in Poland. This was in line with standard consular policy towards British nationals in detention abroad. On 14 December 2006, Mr Manzarpour was released from Warsaw detention centre and returned to the United Kingdom. The Answer given by my noble friend the Minister of State for the Home Department, the right honourable Baroness Scotland QC, on 9 May to the noble Earl (Official Report, cols. WA 260-61), related to a question about an extradition request by the United States to Poland for Mr Manzarpour. The Government clearly have no locus in this matter and are unable to answer such questions.
Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Ashton of Upholland on 15 May (WA 24), how many victims of genital mutilation have applied for civil protection under Part IV of the Family Law Act 1996 (as amended) or the Protection from Harassment Act 1997; and [HL3861]
Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Ashton of Upholland on 15 May (WA 24), whether they have published guidance to victims of genital mutilation about the civil protection available to them. [HL3862]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The type of abuse in a case, including female genital mutilation (FGM), is not recorded centrally when an application for civil protection is made under either the Family Law Act 1996 or the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
There is no separate guidance on civil court protection for victims of FGM. However, in March this year my department published an update of the 2003 guidance Domestic ViolenceA Guide to Civil Remedies and Criminal Sanctions, which outlines a number of civil remedies available to victims and how to apply. There is also a range of guidance across government concerning FGM, including a DVD produced by the Department of Health, which provides both factual and clinical information to health professionals.
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): In addition to EU or UK legislation, the fleet is subject to those rules introduced by the Welsh authorities that apply exclusively in their own waters. As far as I am aware, the only supplementary legislation of this type applies to scallop dredging and was introduced following full consultation with the interests concerned.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): On behalf of the Marine and Fisheries Agency (Defra), the Royal Navy conducts fishery protection duties in English, Welsh and Northern Irish waters. In the last case, this is in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
There are no plans for the Royal Navy to conduct fishery protection duties in Scottish waters. This is the responsibility of the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency, which is funded by the Scottish Executive.
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Food Standards Agency has the overall policy responsibility for food labelling. However, the enforcement of the legislation is undertaken by food enforcement officers, who are employed by local authorities.
What action the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is taking following the recent case of potatoes imported from abroad being sold as Pembrokeshire potatoes; and whether they will make representations to those countries that flout correct labelling rules. [HL3734]
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has policy responsibility for labelling, but responsibility for enforcement of labelling legislation rests with local authorities. The responsibility for accurate labelling lies with the food business operator at the point of sale. Hence in this case the FSA is leaving the matter in the hands of Cardiff Trading Standards to resolve locally. The FSA has received information that the potatoes had the correct origin when imported and is therefore not proposing to take any further action or representation with the countries supplying the potatoes.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Triesman on 14 May (WA 6), whether they will provide more explicit information about the bilateral Anglo-French interests referred to in the discussion between the Prime Minister and President Sarkozy. [HL3842]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): My right honourable friend the Prime Minister saw President Sarkozy on 11 May. They agreed on the importance of bilateral co-operation, including within the EU and G8. They also discussed prospects for the European Council in June, policy toward EU enlargement, EU trade policy and the common agricultural policy.
What assessment they have made of the extent to which the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Human Rights Act 1998 contain appropriate and necessary safeguards to limit or restrict the right of public access to information communicated to public authorities by Members of Parliament in their capacity as such, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, and to respect the right to private life and correspondence. [HL3926]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000 were drafted by this Government with the need to protect confidential and personal information in mind. There are provisions within the Acts to protect such information where appropriate. The Government have not made a separate assessment of the safeguards within these Acts. The Human Rights Act 1998 contains provisions to give further effect to the convention rights, which include the right to respect for private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Whether they have reviewed the extent to which the Data Protection Act 1998 or the Freedom of Information Act 2000 need to be amended in the public interest so as further to limit or restrict the right of public access (a) to information about the activities of Members of Parliament, or (b) to information communicated to public authorities by Members of Parliament in their capacity as such; and, if so, for what reasons and in what respects are such amendments needed. [HL3927]
Whether they have received notification of any instances in which personal or confidential information communicated to public authorities by Members of Parliament in their capacity as such has been improperly disclosed, whether in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 or the Freedom of Information Act 2000, or otherwise. [HL3928]
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: The Government have not received notification of any improper disclosure of personal or confidential information communicated to public authorities by Members of Parliament in their capacity as such.
What remedies are available to individuals whose right to respect for their personal privacy has been infringed by virtue of the unauthorised disclosure of personal or confidential information about themselves, communicated to public authorities by Members of Parliament in their capacity as such. [HL3929]
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: An individual has the right to remedies following an unauthorised disclosure of personal information only where such a disclosure has been proven to contravene the relevant legislation (for example, the Data Protection Act 1998) or the common law (for example, where a duty of confidence is owed in respect of the information in question).
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